Professor, Deaf Studies
His primary research focus is the linguistic analysis of ASL and the study of translation and interpretation. Davis is involved in the US Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education (FIPSE) collaborative project—Reforming Interpreter Education: A Practice Professions Approach—between the University of Tennessee and The University of Rochester, School of Medicine. In this national curriculum reform project, all courses are being developed and piloted in UT’s Educational Interpreting program. The purpose is to teach interpreting as a practice profession, like teaching, medicine, or law, where acquisition of professional judgment and self-evaluation skills are simultaneously imparted with content knowledge.
Davis is also conducting linguistic research of North American Sign Language; digitalizing and analyzing rare archival data from the Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, Gallaudet University Archives, Indiana University Archives, and the National Archives. After these films and documents are digitally re-mastered, this database will be made available for students and other scholars to study through the University Libraries’ digital media service. This research project has important theoretical and linguistic implications for understanding the nature and origins of human language and the similarities, differences, and historical relationship between sign use among indigenous populations (e.g., Native American Indians and the sign language used in deaf communities).
See Science Nation’s report on the work being done to preserve PISL.